The Growing Edge

September 12, 2012 1 Comment

“Look well to the growing edge.  All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born . . . “

Howard Thurman

growing edge

|Photo by Aldo Cauchi Savona|http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheekyneedle/60462071|

The following are some notes I jotted down as I got myself ready to facilitate IISC’s first staff meeting of the new season, and in full swing of our new President, Ceasar McDowell’s, tenure.  The overall theme was one of new beginnings . . . 

In preparing for today’s meeting I was thinking a lot about how I can often take for granted development, growth . . . evolution!  In one moment I may be struggling with a challenge, straining with the growing pains and demands of a given situation and then a few moments (or hours or days or weeks) later I’m skating with relative ease to the rhythm of  life and not even appreciative of that fact.  I have simply moved on.  But of course it wasn’t so simple – in many ways it was and is remarkable.

I was thinking about that with respect to my daughter who is now a first grader.  Last September, my wife and I put her on a bus for the very first time to go to school for the very first time.  There wasn’t a dry eye on that corner as we felt the waves of significance of that moment.  And then this year, on the morning of the first day of school, my daughter made a remark about how she didn’t really feel like going to school.  I rubbed her back and said that I remembered those days, and then she sat up in her bed, took a deep breath and said, “Okay, I’m ready.”  And so were her parents, this time.  It seems wrong to let that moment go un- or under-appreciated this year and not note the remarkable difference that a year can make, to gloss over the important lessons of resilience, adaptation, and learning to thrive!

This is true for our individual and our collective lives, including our time in organization and community.  Certainly there continue to be themes of challenge, of endings, questions about where we are headed and how we will get there (but not whether we will get through or whether it is worth the effort!).  And there has been growth, there has been development and learning and time spent working well together.  This is worth remarking and celebrating, in part because this is always what is happening, as long as we continue to breathe and evolve.  As philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader Howard Thurman wrote about what we called the “growing edge” of life, of all of our lives –  “the roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new leaves, fresh blossoms, green fruit.”  I invite and encourage us all to acknowledge this reality of growth under the surface (and above), so that we can glean the lessons of what has gotten us not just through, but moved us forward.  And what might take us the next vital step.

1 Comment

  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Thanks Curtis. I’ve begun a walking routine and have noticed with awe the power of roots. Many of the trees on my route are now mature and their root systems have pressed the earth upward, pushing heavy metal grates high above their original positions. I’m sure it happens slowly, imperceptibly but it’s unmistakable. As the tree matures, the roots move the soil and that moves the grates and cement that would contain them. It reminds me of the power of growth in our lives and that of our children. We can’t always see it happening, but the evidence emerges.

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